By Drew Champlin, al.com:
Florida had no answer for monster performances from Alabama quarterback Blake Sims and receiver Amari Cooper. Sims threw for 445 yards, second-most in Alabama single game history. He hit 23 of 33 passes with four passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. Cooper caught 10 balls for 201 yards and three touchdowns. But the talk from Florida on Sims, a fifth-year senior, was still geared more on his legs than his arm. “He created a lot of things with his legs,” Florida head coach Will Muschamp said. “That was something we knew coming into the game. They did a nice job with pocket movement. We had him hemmed up at times and he got away. We had opportunities to get him on the ground at times and we couldn’t get him on the ground.
By Greg Ostendorf, ESPN:
Florida took its best shot at No. 3 Alabama on Saturday, but between near-perfect quarterback play, a Heisman-esque performance from Amari Cooper and a solid effort from the defense, the Crimson Tide proved to be too much. Nick Saban’s bunch overpowered the Gators in the second half en route to a 42-21 home victory. It was over when: The Gators had no answer for Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin’s offense in the second half, and the clincher came early in the fourth quarter when Tide safety Landon Collins intercepted Jeff Driskel on third and long.
University of Alabama quarterback Blake Sims threw for 445 yards and four touchdowns, including 10 passes for 201 yards and two scores to receiver Amari Cooper, to lead the No. 2/3 Crimson Tide (4-0 overall; 1-0 in the Southeastern Conference) to a 42-21 win over Florida (2-1; 1-1) Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium. In front of a sellout crowd of 101,821, Alabama overcame several miscues to rack up a methodical yet impressive victory in its Southeastern Conference opener.
By Toby Petitpas, ESPN:
Alabama is off to a 3-0 start for the eighth time in eight seasons under Nick Saban. The offense is a big reason. The Tide are averaging 42 points per game and rank seventh in offensive efficiency. Blake Sims has started all three games for the Tide and has the sixth-best Total QBR (86.6) in the FBS, ahead of players such as Jameis Winston and Everett Golson. Sims is one of 12 quarterbacks who are averaging more than 10 yards per attempt. Yet, he has not been officially named Alabama’s starting quarterback. “Jake (Coker) needs to play and he needs to develop confidence. I think we’re going to have to make a decision on a week-to-week basis on what gives us the best opportunity to win.” Saban said in his postgame news conference on Saturday. “Right now, Blake probably is a little more confident. If that remains that way, he’s probably going to start the game.”
From The Wall Street Journal:
Florida finished last year’s injury-riddled season just 4-8 straight-up and 3-9 against-the-spread while facing the 19th toughest schedule in the country. The Gators allowed just 21.1 points-per-game despite the tough schedule, yet didn’t have enough of an offense to remain competitive in the SEC. The elite defense returns nine starters for 2014 and the offense is at its best and healthiest in a long time.
By Michael Casagrande, al.com:
So far, it’s been a lot of dinking and dunking. Alabama opponents have worked the short passing game more than anything through three weeks of the season. And to this point, it’s worked out for the Alabama defense. It’s allowed just one offensive touchdown and that was back in Week 1 against West Virginia. Much more than the competition level will change Saturday, though. Florida will bring a different approach and the ability to run the football at 2:30 p.m. in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Gators ran the ball 49 percent of the snaps while Alabama’s first three opponents used the run just 39.5 percent of the time. That helped Alabama to the top of the national rushing defense rankings, but this week will test that 47-yard-per-game average.
By Kirk McNair, BamaMag.com:
In the Wednesday evening Alabama press briefing, Saban said, “Florida has an outstanding team, way, way better than anybody here thinks.” Why would anyone think that Florida does not have an outstanding team? Because the Gators went 4-8 last year, including losses to Vanderbilt and Georgia Southern? Because Florida needed three overtimes, and, just maybe, an assist from the officiating crew, to get by Kentucky last week in Gainesville? This week the Crimson Tide has its first Southeastern Conference game as Bama hosts Florida at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. CDT with CBS televising the game.
By Hunter Ford, Capstone Report:
Nick Saban says the 2014 Florida Gators are an outstanding team. In 2013, Florida struggled to one of its worst records in recent history, going 4-8. Saban, at his Wednesday afternoon press conference, said that was partly due to numerous injuries at key positions. The Gators are full strength for their showdown with Alabama, 2:30 CT, Saturday, at Bryant-Denny Stadium. “They are way better, way better, than anyone here thinks,” Saban said. “It’s important our players play their very best.” Saban said the Tide has had a good week of practice. Recently, hot weather has prompted Saban to practice the team indoors. He said it was important for the players to know the game plan, and get the reps they need, but not at the risk of being “zapped out this close to the game.”
By Antonya English, tampabay.com:
Although Alabama has used both quarterbacks Blake Sims and Jake Coker this season, Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said it appears the Tide has settled on Sims, for now, and for good reason. “He’s very dangerous on his feet,” Durkin said Wednesday. “He creates plays on the ground when the pocket breaks down. There are some design runs to him, but I think sometimes when it’s not designed plays, they do a good job of moving the pocket with him. And I think he throws it well and delivers the ball well for them, too. He’s a dangerous guy and we’ve got to be really conscious of where he’s at and containing him and keeping him in front of us because he can beat you either way, throwing it or running it.”